Children with bowel disease may have increased risk of developing osteoporosis

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a group of chronic inflammatory conditions such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis that affect the intestinal tract. A new study suggests that children with IBD may be at risk for low bone mineral density (BMD).

Researchers from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden studied 144 children who have IBD and discovered that approximately half had low BMD. Interrupted development of BMD during childhood may increase the risk of osteoporosis later in life and eventually the likelihood of fractures.

The results emphasize the importance of treating the underlying causes of IBD more effectively, and of measuring BMD in patients with this condition.

"Possible risk factors for low BMD were more severe disease with increased inflammatory activity in the gut, male gender and low body mass index," said Susanne Schmidt, researcher at the Institute of Clinical Sciences.

According to Schmidt, there is a need to introduce checks on BMD, particularly in those patients with risk factors, such as more active disease, low body mass index or parents with a known low BMD.